There are more and better desktop applications available for Linux than ever before, but its often attractive to be able to run Windows software on Linux machines as well.
Thats the job of CrossOver Office 3.0.0, the latest in a line of products from CodeWeavers based on Wine, the open-source Windows compatibility layer project. CrossOver Office started shipping this month and comes in $74.95 Professional and $39.95 Standard editions. The Pro version enables administrators to bundle CrossOver with whatever Windows applications they choose into an RPM for easier deployment. This version includes higher-priority support than the Standard version.
Running Windows applications on Linux with Wine can be tricky, and CrossOver Office does a good job of ironing out the wrinkles.
For example, I tested CrossOver Office 3.0.0 on a system running Fedora Core 2. While configuring CrossOver, I was prompted with a dialog box that said the ExecShield buffer overflow security functionality that ships with Fedora might interfere with CrossOver, along with an option to disable ExecShield to run CrossOver; there was also a script for re-enabling ExecShield.
On a more superficial level, CrossOver makes things easier by adding desktop shortcuts, menu entries and file associations to integrate the Windows applications you install into your Linux desktop.
New in Version 3.0.0 is support for IBMs Lotus Notes 6.51 and Microsofts Outlook XP and Project. CrossOver Office also supports Microsoft Office versions 97 through XP, Internet Explorer, Adobes Photoshop, and several Web browser plug-ins.
I installed Office XP, and it performed well enough, although I dont see a reason to stop running OpenOffice.org as my office suite for Linux. This is one of the quirks of CrossOver Office—the product supports the most popular Windows applications, but its the most popular applications that are most likely to have good Linux equivalents. Still, CrossOver Office makes a great addition to a Linux desktop. For more information, see www.codeweavers.com.